Benedictine College and the Cross of Coronavirus

By Benedictine Sister Esther Fangman | Prioress of Mount St. Scholastica in Atchison, Kansas.

The following is excerpted from an article at the Atchison Globe.

I have been noticing that when we gather for prayers in the middle of the day, a shadow falls right between two of the pews and forms a kind of a crossing shape. It suggested to me the image of a One Way sign. It looks like an arrow that is pointing in one direction. For me, it is a symbol of the shadow of the cross and of the way to follow Christ, that is, to embrace the cross.

Right now, across town at the college, and in every school, there is a cross to face — the cross of the coronavirus.

I listened to a talk given by the president of Benedictine College, Steve Minis. He was addressing this issue and asked students to pay attention to distancing and wearing face masks. Over and over in this talk, as he urged them to take care of one another, he asked them to do this “for the sake of the flock.” When the college community takes up this cross of protecting each other, we hold on to the ideal of education and the mission of our college.

That is what we have done here among the sisters as well. It is for the sake of the flock that we are trying to protect one another. Think of all the crosses that many people, including our community, have faced during this time of pandemic. It is a difficult road we have been on for this five and a half months, and we don’t yet know how many months we still have ahead of us.

Like so many of you, our community has lost loved ones during this time and we have not been able to be present for their funerals, or for marriages, graduations and other important events. Our health is harder to maintain. We may have aches and pains we did not have before. We have not been able to touch people physically in the same way we are used to doing, to give hugs, to embrace them and look them directly in the face.

It seems like it is just one thing after another and I believe that all of this is our cross right now. Whatever is in front of us, this is what we have to bear. It is at this very time, in these very things, that we stand before the cross and we embrace it.

Click here to see Benedictine students praying for Atchison.

Read the entire column by Sister Esther Fangman here.

Benedictine College

Founded in 1858, Benedictine College is a Catholic, Benedictine, residential, liberal arts college located on the bluffs above the Missouri River in Atchison, Kansas. The school is honored to have been named one of America’s Best Colleges by U.S. News & World Report, the best private college in Kansas by The Wall Street Journal, and one of the top Catholic colleges in the nation by First Things magazine and the Newman Guide. It prides itself on outstanding academics, extraordinary faith life, strong athletic programs, and an exceptional sense of community and belonging. Benedictine College is dedicated to transforming culture in America through its mission to educate men and women within a community of faith and scholarship.